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I've made my first novel, Ventus, available as a free download, as well as excerpts from two of the Virga books.  I am looking forward to putting up a number of short stories in the near future.

Complete novel:  Ventus


To celebrate the August, 2007 publication of Queen of Candesce, I decided to re-release my first novel as an eBook. You can download it from this page. Ventus was first published by Tor Books in 2000, and and you can still buy it; to everyone who would just like to sample my work, I hope you enjoy this version.

I've released this book under a Creative Commons license, which means you can read it and distribute it freely, but not make derivative works or sell it.

Book Excerpts:  Sun of Suns and Pirate Sun

I've made large tracts of these two Virga books available.  If you want to find out what the Virga universe is all about, you can check it out here:

Major Foresight Project:  Crisis in Zefra

In spring 2005, the Directorate of Land Strategic Concepts of National Defense Canada (that is to say, the army) hired me to write a dramatized future military scenario.  The book-length work, Crisis in Zefra, was set in a mythical African city-state, about 20 years in the future, and concerned a group of Canadian peacekeepers who are trying to ready the city for its first democratic vote while fighting an insurgency.  The project ran to 27,000 words and was published by the army as a bound paperback book.

If you'd like to read Crisis in Zefra, you can download it in PDF form.

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The Sunless Countries

Nov 26, 2009

Virga on the iPhone

Visit the App Store for some Karl Schroeder reading

Just when I thought life couldn't get any stranger, MacMillan starts releasing my books as iPhone apps!  This is very cool.  Since they apparently don't have the licensing rights to sell the app into Canada, I can't confirm its presence in the iTunes Store; however, you can find my latest Virga novel, The Sunless Countries, at

Not only that, but The Year's Best Science Fiction: 26th Annual Collection is also available; it contains my popular Virga story, The Hero.  

And here's what they'll look like in your iPod or iPhone:

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Aug 12, 2009

SciFi Wire reviews Sunless Countries

They say the book is "essential to Schroeder's artistic scheme and to the full enjoyment of this saga"

Nice review at Sci Fi Wire, full of words like "rich" "hectic" "dangerous" and "exciting."  Not to mention "enigmatic" "exotic" and "bizarre."  A book full of "perilous intrigue" that contains "revelations about Virga's place in the 'foam of worlds.'"

But the reviewer (Paul Di Filippo) is careful to make the point that while Sunless Countries fills in the blanks on the map provided by the other books, it can also be read on its own:

It might very well serve as a good gateway for newbies into the fascinating Virga cosmos, an enormous, air-filled fullerene balloon in the Vegan star system containing worldlets of varying size that center around the "sun of suns," Candesce. It's a Boschian landscape, full of rich cognitive estrangement, and Schroeder gets the most out of his conceptual playground, with taut prose and wild plotting.

In short, a very happy, enthusiastic review for the fourth book of "the Virga trilogy." 

Aug 06, 2009

The Sunless Countries audiobook now available


Coinciding with the launch of the paper edition of The Sunless Countries, MacMillan and have released the audiobook version!  

As with the previous books, this one is read by the inimitable Joyce Irvine, with David Thorne.  They bring a great one-two punch to these stories; I'm very lucky to have such lively and entertaining readers.

I wish I could release the persistent massively multiplayer online role playing version on the same day as well, but that's a little harder to do.  But hey, if you have the coders and a server farm just sitting around idle (hint hint, Matrix Online), maybe we should talk.

Aug 05, 2009

A fine review in Locus for Sunless Countries

The August, 2009 edition - and R.I.P. for Charles N. Brown

Russell Letson has read all the Virga books, and so he's eminently qualified to compare them with one another in his review of The Sunless Countries.  Does this fourth book, which diverges so totally from the arc of straightforward adventure that tied the first three together, pass muster?  Apparently.

Science fiction is supposed to be the genre that melds the adventures of the mind and body into a single thrill ride, as though a roller coaster could be combined with the Discovery Channel and an advanced degree in speculative anthropology and experienced all at once.  This series, and this entry in particular, fulfills that promise.

This is an excellent first major review of the book, and especially good as it arrived two days before Worldcon starts.  In my usual way I had no idea whether I'd crafted a masterpiece or a doorstop; at least I can go to the yearly party with some confidence that I've done right by the other Virga books.

Jul 30, 2009

And now... The Sunless Countries

A fourth Virga book? Where can we go after Pirate Sun?

What do you do when you've created an open-ended universe of unmatched richness and potential?  You keep exploring it!  I'm very far from exhausting the possibilities of my world Virga, and here's The Sunless Countries to prove it.  This novel is connected to the previous three in the series, but doesn't require that you've read them.  It introduces new characters in a new setting while retaining enough links to the other books for fans of those stories.  It really is all one grand epic tale, but I've tried to keep the action local in each book, and that's definitely the case here.The Sunless Countries

Meet Leal Hieronyma Maspeth.  She's a history tutor at the University of Sere, in the nation of Abyss.  Leal's a curious mixture of discipline and unbridled imagination:  she works hard to get ahead in her cut-throat academic world, but nonetheless dreams of being swept away by the dashing sun lighter, Hayden Griffin, who has recently come to Sere to build a new sun for some other country.

As events conspire, she will end up meeting Griffin, but nothing is like she imagined it would be.  In particular, she never dreamt that something ancient and terrible might awaken in the darkness beyond Sere's streetlights--perhaps a fabled worldwasp, come to wreack vengeance on humanity for some long-forgotten slight.  Nor could she have anticipated that, in Abyss's current anti-intellectual backlash, she would end up being the only person who even knows what a worldwasp is, much less how to deal with it...

The Sunless Countries will be appearing on bookshelves within the next few days.  I've just received my first copy (and, by the way, on the actual book, the bands of colour on the top and bottom aren't lime green like they are in the above picture; they're indigo/purple, to go with the overall design).  In a couple of days, you too can meet Leal, and the worldwasps...

Jun 02, 2009

Sun of Suns audiobook is free until June 12

Just head over to and pick up your copy



To promote the upcoming release of The Sunless Countries, we've decided to offer the Sun of Suns audiobook for free download.  There's a discussion about it going on right now at; for the download itself, go to the site.

Now, since I'm the author anything I say about the quality of the story itself is obviously biased; but I can say without reservation that the reader, Joyce Irvine, does an excellent job with my material.  If there's flaws in my prose she easily talks around them, and she's a great choice for the material.  (And if you like how she does this, you should try her dry and distantly amused rendition of Queen of Candesce!)

All of the Virga books are available in audiobook format; The Sunless Countries will be as well.  And don't forget that Metatropolis, currently nominated for a Hugo Award, is also available from


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About Me

I'm a member of the Association of Professional Futurists with my own consultancy, and am also currently Chair of the Canadian node of the Millennium Project, a private/public foresight consultancy active in 50 nations. As well, I am an award-winning author with ten published novels translated into as many languages. I write, give talks, and conduct workshops on numerous topics related to the future, including:

  • Future of government
  • Bitcoin and digital currencies
  • The workplace in 2030
  • The Internet of Things
  • Augmented cognition

For a complete bio, go here. To contact me, email karl at kschroeder dot com

Example: The Future of Governance

I use Science Fiction to communicate the results of actual futures studies. Some of my recent research relates to how we'll govern ourselves in the future. I've worked with a few clients on this and published some results.

Here are two examples--and you can read the first for free:

The Canadian army commissioned me to write Crisis in Urlia, a fictionalized study of the future of military command-and-control. You can download a PDF of the book here:

Crisis in Urlia

For the "optimistic Science Fiction" anthology Hieroglyph, I wrote "Degrees of Freedom," set in Haida Gwaii. "Degrees of Freedom" is about an attempt to develop new governing systems by Canadian First Nations people.

I'm continuing to research this exciting area and would be happy to share my findings.


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    Coming on June 18, 2019

    "Science fiction at its best."

    --Kim Stanley Robinson

    A Young Adult Scifi Saga

    "Lean and hugely engaging ... and highly recommended."

    --Open Letters Monthly, an Arts and Literature Review

    Sheer Fun: The Virga Series

    (Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce are combined in Cities of the Air)

     β€œAn adventure-filled tale of sword fights and naval battles... the real fun of this coming-of-age tale includes a pirate treasure hunt and grand scale naval invasions set in the cold, far reaches of space. ”
    β€”Kirkus Reviews (listed in top 10 SF novels for 2006)

    "With Queen of Candesce, [Schroeder] has achieved a clockwork balance of deftly paced adventure and humour, set against an intriguing and unique vision of humanity's far future.
    --The Globe and Mail

    "[Pirate Sun] is fun in the same league as the best SF ever has had to offer, fully as exciting and full of cool science as work from the golden age of SF, but with characterization and plot layering equal to the scrutiny of critical appraisers."

    "...A rollicking good read... fun, bookish, and full of insane air battles"

    "A grand flying-pirate-ship-chases-and-escapes-and-meetings-with-monsters adventure, and it ends not with a debate or a seminar but with a gigantic zero-gee battle around Candesce, a climactic unmasking and showdown, just desserts, and other satisfying stuff."